Book Review: Lips Like Sugar: Women’s Erotic Fantasies edited by Violet Blue

This second printing of Violet Blue’s collection of erotica is rather uneven, but it still provides a fair number of good, hot stories.

Cover of Lips Like Sugar: Women's Erotic Fantasies edited by Violet Blue
(“First you get the sugar, then you get the power.”)

Originally published in 2006, Cleis Press re-released Lips Like Sugar: Women’s Erotic Fantasies with a new cover earlier this month. As far as I can tell, the content of both books remains the same. After a forward by Thomas S. Roche and the introduction from Blue, there are nineteen separate fantasies, and in a 167 page book, that makes many of them a little (or a lot) too short.

In “Jen and Tim” by Kay Jaybee, the actual sex – a woman with a strap-on and her begging male partner – takes up less than one page. Unless one gets off on anticipation, the build-up to finally touching, I’m afraid the story’s a bit, “Oh. So, we’re done then? After all that?” The writing that is there is perfectly fine, but there needs to be more of it.

And yet, one of the longest stories in the collection is the one that bored me the most – Dara Prisamt Murray’s “Airport Security.” Yes, in it, a woman is pulled aside for an “extra-special” security screening. While I understand the fantasy of wanting to be dominated by a person in a position of authority in a semi-public location, it’s just not my personal thing. It’s not that none of the details are sexy; I just find “Please do the final search, sir,” eye-rollingly unsexy. Your results may vary.

Despite my complaints – I really don’t want to read the word “pubis” in the context of fucking – there are still a good number of highlights. In “The 9:30 to Edinburgh,” Carolina John writes about a woman on a train who is joined by two attractive travelers in her first class carriage.

“Sarah and I often have to visit clients in Scotland.” He cast a glance to his blonde companion and Alison’s heart leaped as she realized that she was, as she had hoped, just a colleague. “But after a while traveling can become really tedious – and we do all we can to try to make the journey as interesting as possible,” he added. Sarah nodded, her eyes flashing knowingly at her companion before settling on Alison’s hot face.

I think we know where this conversation is headed. At thirteen pages, the content and the pacing are just right. There is a full story here.

Zoe Bishop’s “Crazy From the Heat” – in which two female friends on a nude beach give the onlookers atop the nearby cliffs something to ogle – is also well done. “The Power of Imagination” by BJ Franklin takes a more realistic approach to the idea of fantasy by describing all the assorted images that rush through a woman’s mind while she’s touching herself. Exes who knew what they were doing, someone she sat next to at that day’s lecture, the hands of her roommate’s boyfriend – anything that turns her on is fair game after a long day. Let’s be real. Sometimes one just has to get the job done, and it’s easier not to involve another person.

Probably the best story is Teresa Lamai’s “Idyll,” in which Croatian and Bosnian refugees live together in “a tiny house by the cemetery in Zagreb.” A woman loves two of her roommates, Goran and Amel, for different reasons. One is more innocent and eagerly accepts every touch she has for him, while the other man is quiet, yet determined. His visits to her bed are always in the middle of the night. All parties seem completely happy with this arrangement, and Lamai’s writing is definitely some of the best in the whole book.

There are also tales of submissives, a shoe fetish, construction site sex, a drag king, Halloween “Cops and Robbers,” and a rape fantasy. In that way, I suppose there’s a little something for everybody in the book, but is it worth the $15.95 cover price? Personally, I think I’ve read better, more substantial erotica collections in this price range, but if you’re the e-reader sort, perhaps it’s worth $9.99 for the Kindle edition, if the stories I’ve mentioned interest you. Obviously, what makes “hot” fantasy is highly subjective.

For me, a good erotica collection has the right balance of story length and pacing, and while the writing of course does not have to be Pulitzer-worthy, it shouldn’t be so bad that it’s distracting. Lips Like Sugar comes up a bit short for me, but if nothing else, it has brief moments of providing a really good time.


Full Disclosure: Cleis Press sent me this book as a review copy. I thank them for the gesture and I will continue to be fair with my reviews.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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